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Donald Trump Backtracks on Orlando Gun Comments

Donald Trump Backtracks on Orlando Gun Comments

Donald Trump

 “When I said that if, within the Orlando club, you had some people with guns, I was obviously talking about additional guards or employees,” said Trump.

Donald Trump is walking back controversial comments he made in the wake of the Orlando shooting--that the deaths of 49 people could have been avoided if the Pulse patrons were armed.

The presumptive GOP nominee tweeted a clarification on Monday night that what he really meant is that the Florida gay bar's staff should have been locked and loaded. "When I said that if, within the Orlando club, you had some people with guns, I was obviously talking about additional guards or employees," Trump tweeted to his 9.2 million followers.

This is markedly different from the opinions he offered during a much-criticized speech delivered at a Houston rally last Friday.

"If we had people with bullets going the opposite direction right smack between the eyes of this maniac -- if some of those wonderful people had guns strapped right here, right to their waist or right to their ankle, and this son of a bitch comes out and starts shooting -- and one of the people in that room happened to have it and goes 'boom, boom,'" Trump told the crowd, "you know what, that would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight, folks."

What Trump doesn't acknowledge is that there was an armed off-duty officer working security at Pulse that night. Adam Gruler, the officer, exchanged fire with Omar Mateen near the club's entrance, but the officer soon realized he was "outgunned." Gruler called for backup, but the wait gave Mateen an opportunity to move further inside. Two more officers arrived in response to Gruler's call and they fired shots back and forth with Mateen, but at that point the shooter had retreated into the bathroom with hostages.

Trump further expounded on his earlier comments during a June 13 radio appearance on Boston's The Howie Carr Show.

"It's too bad some of the people killed over the weekend didn't have guns attached to their hips, where bullets could have thrown in the opposite direction," the billionaire CEO stated. "Had people been able to fire back, it would have been a much different outcome."

Before Trump backtracked his remarks, those views were denounced by Wayne LaPierre, the president of the NRA.

"I don't think you should have firearms where people are drinking," LaPierre told CBS' Face the Nation. He later added on Twitter: "I want to clarify my comment: if you're going to carry, don't drink. OK to carry in restaurants that serve alcohol."

Chris Cox, who serves as executive director for the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, further argued that Trump's solution to the tragedy "defies common sense... and also defies the law." He told ABC's This Week, "No one thinks that people should go into a nightclub drinking and carrying firearms."

Although Trump has claimed that his suggestion was not to arm the 320 patrons of Pulse, who were targeted by a lone shooter who opened fire on the club on June 12, Newsday notes that his statements were remarkably similar to comments made following previous mass shootings.

In an interview with reporters from Dec. 5, Trump discussed arming the victims of terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.

"If you look at Paris, they didn't have guns, and they were slaughtered," Trump said. "If you look at what happened in California, they didn't have guns, and they were slaughtered. I think it would've been a lot better if they had guns in that room, somebody could protect."

The White House hopeful reiterated that standpoint when speaking to the NRA in May, after the pro-gun lobby group threw its endorsement behind Trump.

"If we had guns on the other side, it wouldn't have been that way. I would have -- boom," Trump said. Following that statement, Trump reportedly pointed his thumb and index finger toward the Louisville, Ky. crowd, as if to fire directly at them.

In a match-up against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump is currently down by more than five points in national polls.

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